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Destroy the Runner, a Carlsbad metal-core band, just returned from a six-week tour that followed the release of Saints, their first CD on Solid State. The Seattle indie label distributed by EMI is known for its roster of Christian rock artists. Two other Solid State bands (Haste the Day and August Burns Red) joined Destroy the Runner on the 42-city tour. Another band on the bill (Scary Kids Scaring Kids) was the only one not on Solid State. Scary Kids partied on the road; the other three bands did not.

"We definitely couldn't have done this tour eight years ago," says Scary Kids keyboardist Pouyan Afkary. Destroy the Runner's Duane Reed (guitar/vocals) agrees that not long ago Christian rock and secular rock rarely intersected; he says that rock audiences nowadays are more open to Christian bands.

"Underoath is huge right now," says Reed. "I think they sold 100,000 [copies of their latest CD]." About Christian rock bands in the past, Reed says, "A lot of it was real crap. Most of the bands who were claiming Christian stuff were awful. Now a lot of [Christian] bands are coming out with really good music."

While on tour, there were no conflicts between Scary Kids and the Solid State bands; however, Scary Kid Afkary says...

"It's tough to be on a totally Christian bill and be well received.... I like to come up to people in the crowd and dance sexually with them. I wrap my shirt around them and caress their face. Some of the crowds had no problem. But there was one occasion where this girl came up to me and said we lost their devotion as fans because of the way I acted onstage.... I'm an atheist, and we also have a Mormon in the band, but we don't want to say as a band we are this or that religion....

"If you are on Solid State, the day your record comes out you can expect to sell X amount of records just because you are on that label. The bad thing is, the second those fans find out you did something that doesn't go along with their interpretation of the Bible, they will turn on you."

Reed says Destroy the Runner's spirituality is subtle.

"I've been to P.O.D. shows where they would preach from the stage, saying they are representing Jesus Christ. We're not that kind of band. We all share beliefs that are portrayed in our lyrics, but we're not out to be a ministry band. We don't want to make anybody uncomfortable."

Scary Kids Scaring Kids appear November 4 at Soma. Destroy the Runner departs for another six-week tour tomorrow.

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